Islanders go Brooklyn

Islanders go Brooklyn

After everybody knowing they were going to do it, the New York Islanders recently revealed their new, Brooklyn-inspired third jerseys.

For a team with a long history of some pretty awful third jerseys and questionable uniform-related decisions all around (the swirly, wave like bottoms of the notorious Fisherman jerseys comes to mind), fans of the team were pretty nervous to see what concoction they would come up with this time. Moving to Brooklyn from Nassau County, it was clear that the team was going to go black and white, to match their arena mates, the Brooklyn Nets.

isle6The results are…pretty good.

The Islanders have come up with something simple yet pleasing to the eye. Looking at these unis, it is clear that they will look pretty good on the ice, contrasting the white of the team the ice, and of the team that they will be playing against.

isle5Here are some of my thoughts on the new third jerseys:

  • The “NY” logo, started last year for their outdoor game, is a nice, simple design that really stands out on the jersey. It is not too radically different from their classic logo, yet works very well as something different.
  • The four orange stripes on the stick portion of the “Y” is a great element. It offers the slightest amount of pop in colour, and of course is a nod to the teams four Stanley Cup wins.
  • I love the thin striping on the sleeves, matched by the same ones on the socks. It looks classy. Again, related to the four Cups.
  • Thankfully, there is a stripe at the waist. Every team that has gone away from the bottom stripe looks awful, and makes their unis looks like pajamas.
  • The name and numbers font is clean, uncluttered, and easy to see. isle2
  • I like the simple white stripe around the wrist, as well. It offers a nice contrast, and again, avoids the PJ look.
  • The new BKLYN wordmark that will be worn on the helmets looks really good. It is dangerous to change things up, but the designers have done a good job in blending the classic with the new. Again, the four orange stripes make an appearance. isle
  • On the pants, there is a pretty large NY on the left thigh. I have a read a couple of reviews that don’t like this element at all, but I don’t mind it. I feel it breaks up the black nicely, providing a nice visual contrast. Of course, we know what team it is, since the jersey logo isn’t too far away, but I think it adds a certain amount of flash to the uniform.
  • The white ring that goes almost all the way around the collar also provides that nice contrast. It is simple, and not gimmicky. It works for me.

isle3Overall, I would say that this is a big jersey win for the Islanders. After so many debatable ones, this black-and-white comes across as a winner. They will wear the new threads a dozen times in the upcoming season, and for the first time in a while, it will not be an eyesore to see them on the ice. They are clean, and have a level of sophistication, which makes them one of the better thirds in the entire league.

New 49ers Uniforms

New 49ers Uniforms

Having loved the San Francisco 49ers since I started watching football as a little kid, seeing my all-time favorite player, Joe Montana, take the field in the iconic red and gold of the team, it has become increasingly difficult to cheer for this team, 30 years after I began to love them.

The next step in their own destruction is the introduction of their new alternate jerseys for the upcoming season.

They are black.

Like, all black.

49ers2Black is not a colour in the 49ers palette, and the whole uniform looks like it belongs back in the late-90’s, when everybody seemed to want a black jersey. This is a lazy design, and it simply doesn’t look good at all. The red numbers on the black uniform look like they will be difficult to see from a distance, and the complete lack of gold (aside from the tiny Nike swooshes) is an abomination. Not that I would ever agree with this team bringing in a black uni, but not having gold on it was a massive mistake, especially since the combination of black and gold is always a solid one (even if they may be venturing into the New Orleans Saints territory there). But if red was added on top of it, then there may have been something there, aside from this incredibly dull set.

My most significant beef with these jerseys is the way that they match with the iconic Niners’ helmets. Meaning, they don’t belong together at all. Without a hint of black on the helmets, it looks like this is a team that is actually wearing the wrong jerseys, or the wrong helmets. They are that mismatched, and out of place. I could understand it if there was gold on the uniform, or if the helmets were primarily red, but they are not. It looks terrible.

I get the idea that they want to sell more uniforms, and having an iconic look limits sales to either a red, or a white, jersey. But aside from the obvious money grubbing of this uniform move, I simply don’t understand it. It is such a move away from the tradition of the team, and it serves at stripping away the identity of the NFL’s great franchises. I’m simply not sure why anyone would do that.

My only hope for this uniform set is that they are used twice this season (the maximum number of times they can be worn), and then they fade into obscurity because there are enough fans that feel the same way I do, and don’t shell out a bunch of money to buy these things. Hopefully, in a decade, we can look back at lists of the worst uniform changes in league history, laugh at how there was that time the Niners tried to wear black, and then move on from it, happy that the 49ers still wear red and gold, as they should.

The U Updated Look

The U Updated Look

Among the several new sets of football uniforms released over the past couple of weeks (Florida State, Syracuse, Washington), are new duds for my favorite college team, the University of Miami Hurricanes.

It is always kind of frightening when a team you care about gets some new uniforms, because there is always that chance that they are actually pretty terrible. But there is no doubt that the U needed some new unis this year, as they have been trotting out some pretty bad combos over the past few seasons, and it was time to refresh everything. It has been a while since they have redone their main uniforms, at least in terms of how quickly teams seem to rebrand these days, so the fresh look would be welcome.

On first look, I didn’t like them. At all.

But after seeing the details, and the different parts of the new looks, they quickly grew on me. I think that they will look sharp on the field once again.

uSome notes:

  • Orange and green is one of the best, most recognizable colour palates in the game, so I’m glad they didn’t try and introduce something new in there.
  • I was originally offended that the helmet was different. I have long thought that the all white helmet with orange and green U on the sides was the best helmet in all of football. Observing it more closely though, I think it’s pretty cool that the U is a little bigger, shinier, and has the ibis symbol underneath it. Overall, it looks pretty sharp. The orange helmet will be a cool addition to the family.
  • I hate how Nike always shows their images as monochrome pant and jersey combos. Show us what the combinations will look like! Not many teams go full monochrome during games, so I want to know what the white jersey and orange pants look like. And all the other various combos out there.
  • I could definitely live without the fourth set, the black/grey look. Too many teams are doing it, and there is no point in my mind. The U isn’t black or grey. They are brightly coloured teams that are unmistakable with their egos, swagger, and look. The black just mutes the team.
  • I will miss the helmet stripe down the middle. It looks pretty blank from the front without it.
  • Good job at getting rid of the more annoying parts of the previous sets, like the random bib lines on the front and back of the jerseys. That piping always looked awkward, and I’m glad it’s gone.
  • There is potential for some really great combos here. Orange on top and green bottoms should look really good, as with any of the unis with white pants.

Overall, nicely done. I am happy with the changes, and am glad that the Hurricanes will look fresh and new this season, as the team continues to rebuild itself towards relevance and supremacy. They should have a pretty good team on the field, and at least we will know that they will look better than they have over the past few years.

Red Sox Back to Road Red

Red Sox Back to Road Red

I don’t really post enough about uniforms on my blog. I love uniforms, and I follow several websites that keep me up to date on all the tweaks and changes that go on through a season. For true uni-nerds, you really need to check out uni-watch.com for literally everything from the four major North American sports to Japanese soccer league changes. It covers everything.

While the uni sites out there do amazing jobs of reporting changes, I want to comment on one change, that albeit slight, is significant in my mind.

red sox redThe Boston Red Sox have gone back to a red script on their road uniforms. They won the World Series in 2004 and 2007 with these roadies, then they changed to the blue font that has been seen for the past couple of seasons. While I didn’t mind the change, it made the road greys seem more bland, and for a team with Red in their nickname, it was lacking something for sure.

It is a welcome change back to the way it was before. The red offers more pop to the name of the city, and it just makes for a better colour palette, in my opinion. The Red Sox should have Red.

red sox blueWhile the blue tended to have a pretty classic, old-school look, in a sport where all road teams are wearing grey as their primary colour, I feel like it is important to have certain aspects stand out on the field. Even the Yankees, with their timeless uniforms, have a dull look on the road, with their combo of grey and blue. The red adds some much needed spark, and will appear more vividly on TV, and in person.

I love the change. Plus, I already own a red font road uniform, so now I can take it back out of retirement!

Olympics: Hockey so far…

With the men’s Olympic hockey tournament underway, here are a few thoughts I’ve had from the opening games. At this point, all teams have played at least two games and we really are already separating the good from the bad and the ugly, as happens every year. The prelims really are just a warmup for the teams we know are going to make it to the medal round anyway, as they try and fuse a team together and get some momentum before the elimination games really begin.

Olympic-rings

  • Great job by Slovenia, the tiny former Yugoslav nation with fewer than 200 registered male hockey players, on getting their first ever Olympic win, over the reeling Slovakian team.
  • Even though Finland hasn’t dominated, as a Canadian fan, I am scared of what Tuuka Raask could do in the medal round.
  • The US team has looked dominant, maybe the best team in the tourney so far.
  • 4 goals by TJ Oshie in the shootout against Russia? Incredible. That will be seen as a classic game in no time.
  • Tough blow for Sweden, who were the favorites in my mind. Losing Henrik Zetterberg really hurts. He is a beast, and probably their best player. They have good team depth, however, and should be able to make a run at a medal without him. That D combination of Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson is terrifying.
  • The uniforms: as awful as they were when they were released, they actually look pretty decent on the ice. That goes for most of the teams. I really like the Finnish flag jerseys, the Czech whites, and the Canada reds. Still a huge thumbs down for the black Canadian alternates, and those Russian ones look like a big mess with the white eagle heads. And is Austria just wearing the Canadian jerseys from 2010 with a different logo? No points for creativity there.

Now, specifically on the Canadian team:

  • I want Carey Price as my goalie moving forward. Luongo played well and got a shutout, but that was against Austria. I just don’t trust him to rise up like I would Price.
  • Crosby has been quiet, which shouldn’t really be a concern. He didn’t do tons in Vancouver, either, before scoring that one little goal of his…
  • I am endlessly impressed with our defense. Weber and Doughty have been great in both ends of the rink. Everyone else has been solid as well. No glaring giveaways, and it looks like they are all playing well together. This bodes well as we move forward, since in these short tournaments, D and goaltending are paramount.
  • Why is Rick Nash on this team again? I love to hate him.
  • Hopefully Canada got a scare from its close opening game against Norway. European teams can really shut it down out there, and Canada has to be willing to get dirty in the corners and messy in front of the net to get some mucker goals in order to bear those teams. For example, Switzerland gives you no chances, so you need to capitalize on every sniff you may get.
  • I don’t know if I like playing two easy teams off the hop. I would rather have had the Finns as a second game, a truer test for the team. Then an easy one to close the round robin. This would have given them a bit of a break going into the medal round. Now, they will be playing tough and meaningful games for the rest of the tournament. No more simple ones.
  • Again, those black jerseys were terrible.

It is very exciting going forward, to see which nation will rise above the others. There are still so many contenders out there, and it really is too tough to call at this point. The US looks like the team to beat, but that could change in a moment, which really is the best part about the Olympic tourney.

Go Canada Go!

Mandatory Super Bowl Post

Since I won’t feel like writing anything about this years Super Bowl after the game, I will share a few thoughts I have before the game. Before we have our winner, our champion for the latest NFL season.

super

  • I am not extremely excited about this matchup, even though I like the Seahawks. But, they beat my team, the 49ers, so it is pretty difficult to truly cheer for them.
  • Manning needs to win this game. If he does, he will undoubtedly be in the conversation for the greatest quarterback of all-time. Despite his lacking playoff resume (a win would only be his second ring), his regular seasons would vault him into the conversation with the best of the best. Like Joe Montana.
  • For so long, I have hated the Broncos. I don’t really know why. I was never a fan of John Elway, and I find it troubling to even attempt to like them now. I have never had a problem with Manning, I know how amazing a quarterback he is. Maybe it’s those now-outdated late 90’s designed uniforms? I’m not sure. But I’ll blame it on that.
  • Offense vs. Defense. The endless football debate. I guess we will see what wins championships.
  • How easy has the Broncos road to the Super Bowl been? I know San Diego was on the rise when they played, but that was a 9-7 regular season team on the road. Not the toughest matchup.
  • I really do want the Seahawks to win. I love the city of Seattle, and have visited there many times. I like the makeup of the team. Tough football teams get my vote every time.
  • How uninspired is the selection of Bruno Mars to do the half time show? All I can think of when I hear his songs now is a lame car commercial. Not terribly entertaining, in my opinion, but what do I know about new music?
  • As a uniform lover, I am kind of sad that Seattle will be in their road whites. I love their blue uniforms. Why couldn’t this be a colour vs. colour game? Not like there are issues with mixing up blue and orange on the field. How good would that look?
  • Another reason I will cheer for Seattle: I still think they got hosed by the refs a few years back when they lost in the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • I’ll take the Seahawks by 13. Seems like a ridiculous number to attach to them, but I don’t know. I like the way Pete Carroll coaches, and I think he can inspire this team. Plus, the great offenses of the past decade have not always fared well in the big game. I think the Seahawk coaches will be able to bottle up Manning (as much as you can bottle him up, I’m sure he will still pass for close to 400 yards) and have him make a couple of poor decisions down the field. This could be a really good game, and despite not loving the matchup, I am quite curious to see who will win.

Sleeves=Bad

So the NBA has been having teams wear uniforms with sleeves over the past couple of years. Ok, maybe the teams haven’t been forced to wear them, but on all the Christmas games this year, the teams are sporting them. And they look ridiculous.

I get why the league is doing this. There will be people out there that enjoy them, and there will be people that buy them. But they look like PJs. I can see them having appeal to a fan of a team that doesn’t want to walk around rocking a no sleeve look. But for on the court, they look impractical, and made even worse by the contrast of the tight jersey tops and the baggy shorts the players still wear.

Save these ones for the stores, NBA, and save us from having to see them on the court again.

Merry Christmas to all!